Cristiano Ronaldo ‘starts United’s Premier League opener against Brighton at the BENCH’

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘starts Manchester United’s Premier League opener against Brighton on the BENCH as Erik ten Hag looks to reward Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford after their impressive pre-season campaign’

  • Ronaldo will reportedly start the opening game of the season for United on the bench
  • The 37-year-old star missed United’s pre-season tour of Australia and Thailand
  • He only played 45 minutes of football against the Spanish team Rayo Vallecano
  • That is why boss Erik ten Hag is reluctant to play him against Brighton on Sunday

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to start Manchester United’s opening game of the 2022-23 Premier League season on the bench amid lingering uncertainty over his future at the club.

The Portuguese superstar has 12 months left on his £360,000-a-week deal with Manchester United, but stated earlier this summer that he wanted to leave the club as he aspires to pursue Champions League football.

The 37-year-old attacker was also absent from United’s pre-season tour of Bangkok and Australia after the club gave him some extra time off to sort out a family problem.

Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly start Man United’s opening game of the season on the bench

Ronaldo made his United return against Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano – just playing 45 minutes before the departure of the ground for the full-time whistle.

That is why Erik ten Hag has decided that Ronaldo United’s opening game of the Premier League season against Brighton will start on the bench, according to The Sun.

The Dutch manager is ready to award Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford with a spot in the starting XI after impressing during their pre-season campaign.

However, Ten Hag is sweating over Martial’s fitness just four days before their Premier League opener against Brighton on Sunday.

Ronaldo made his United return against Spain's Rayo Vallecano - he played just 45 minutes before leaving the field for the full-time whistle (above)

Ronaldo made his United return against Spain’s Rayo Vallecano – he played just 45 minutes before leaving the field for the full-time whistle (above)

This makes Erik ten Hag reluctant to start the 37-year-old given his lack of playing minutes

This makes Erik ten Hag reluctant to start the 37-year-old given his lack of playing minutes

The Frenchman suffered an injury in United’s 1-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid in pre-season, and left the field after an hour with his hamstring strain.

It comes as a blow to the Dutch manager, as Martial rediscovered his best form while away during United’s pre-season tour this summer.

After falling out of favor last season and being loaned out to Sevilla, Martial may have expected to leave the club this summer, but he instead played a prominent role in preparation and is likely to play a key role in Ten’s plans Hag.

Ten Hag would like to start Anthony Martial if he is fit enough to be selected for the match

Ten Hag would like to start Anthony Martial if he is fit enough to be selected for the match

Goals against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace have meant that Martial could once again become a key player for United after a number of seasons in which he struggled to keep his early promise.

Should Martial be ruled out, Ten Hag could turn to Ronaldo – who only returned to the club last summer after leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.

However, Ronaldo has made it clear that he wants to leave the club this summer and secure a transfer ahead of United’s opening game of the season.

Nevertheless, Ten Hag will happily walk away from United’s 2022-23 opener against Brighton with a result.

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